Once again, the South Okanagan and Similkameen plays host to one of North America’s most challenging endurance events: Ultraman Canada. Ultraman Canada is an individual three day, 514.5 km swimming, biking and running endurance race that takes place during the August long weekend. This year’s event marks the thirteenth running since its inception in 1993. The event didn’t run for a few years in the 1990s due to lack of participants for ultra distance events.
This year just as final preparations are being completed, Ultraman was very pleased to be contacted by IGA, Okanagan Falls and H. Y. Louie to come on board as a Gold Sponsor of the event. Steve Brown, Race Director says “This is a huge sponsorship for us and the entire event as IGA will be an active supporter of the athletes, support crews and volunteers. IGA will be a major supplier of food and hydration products for everyone in the event. The location of the IGA store in Okanagan Falls makes stocking up for our athletes simple and convenient, to say nothing of the Day One Finish which is directly behind the Store in Kenyon Park.”
Athletes Dave Matheson and Bruce Schoenne (left to right in photo) are locals along with three other Okanagan Athletes who will be competing along with Mexican Inaki De Le Parra. Other countries represented in the event are United Kingdom, USA, Australia, Russia and Israel. There are 29 athletes in this years Invitation only event. Athletes must have completed at least an iron distance race in the previous 18 months under 14 ½ hours to qualify for an invitation.
Day One (Aug. 3) begins with a 10 km swim in Skaha Lake from Penticton to Sovereign Road near Okanagan Falls, followed by a 144.8 km bike ride through the south Okanagan, over the Richter Pass, and ends back in Kenyon Park in OK Falls.
Day Two (Aug. 4) sees competitors start a 274.2 km Bike ride from Penticton to Osoyoos, returning to OK Falls, then climb “The Wall” to Willowbrook and Twin Lakes on their way to Princeton where they complete an out and back section to Alison Lake to finish at the Princeton Arena.
Day Three (Aug. 5) completes the event with an 84.4 km run from Princeton to Summerland along the Old Princeton Summerland Road. The athletes finish at Memorial Park in Summerland.
The event this year features five men all capable of winning the event. Inaki De La Parra of Mexico won last years Ultraman United Kingdom and has to be considered among the favorites. Along with local favorite Dave Matheson, former winner John Bergen, and new comers Craig Percival of Australia and Christian Isakson of Portland Oregon this should be an exciting race that likely won’t be decided until after run times are complete.
The women’s race only has five entrants but all of them are capable athletes and in the hunt for the win. Okanagan athlete Kathleen Wood of West Kelowna is the local favourite. There are 2 returning veterans and three rookies at the Ultraman Distance. This part of the event is really up in the air as far as predictions are concerned.
The Ultraman family of events is also about to welcome a new event in the series located in Orlando Florida. The inaugural race is set for February 2014. This will bring the total number of Ultraman Events to four including Ultraman UK and the Ultraman World Championships, Hawaii. The expansion of the brand is also being discussed during Ultraman Canada as Chairman and Owner Jane Bockus will be here to hear presentations from other locations including Australia for 2015.
Local residents are invited to witness the end of all stages as follows: Stage 1, Kenyon Park, Okanagan Falls, approximately 2 p.m.; Stage 2, Princeton Arena, approximately 3 p.m., Stage 3 Memorial Park, Summerland approximately 1:30 p.m.
For further information on Ultraman Canada and this press release visit www.ultramancanada.com or contact Race Director, Steve Brown at (250) 490-3334